The World Ends With You Review

The World Ends With You is Square-Enix’s newest attempt at a Japanese RPG without the words Final Fantasy in the title. Uncontent with just creating a new IP that doesn’t differ much from their usual offerings, Square has teamed up with Jupiter Corp to deliver one of the DS’ freshest titles yet.

TWEWY’s protagonist is a 15 year old boy named Neku who one day wakes up in the middle of a street in Shibuya, Tokyo. Neku learns that he’s been thrust into a seven-day challenge called the Reaper’s Game. If Neku fails to complete each day’s task, he will be wiped from existence.

TWEWY’s basic story is simple and there are a few cliches like amnesia, a main character who is apathetic and cynical, and a girl who doesn’t really know who she is, but we’ve all come to expect that from Square. What we’ve also come to expect is excellent writing and story progression, and TWEWY delivers that in spades. The writing is engaging with memorable characters and many pop-culture references, and there are also many plot-twists that will catch you off-guard.

While most gamers play RPGs for their stories and little else, TWEWY has a lot more going for it. It’s one of the funnest and most engaging RPGs to ever be released on the handheld platform, and possibly any. When you engage in battle you will control Neku on the DS’ bottom screen and his partner on the top screen. Neku is controlled with the stylus and you can perform various psychic abilities to defeat your foes, while your partner is controlled with the DS’ buttons.

So you control two characters at once to destroy the opposition. There’s a lot of multi-tasking that goes on, so it can be very difficult at the beginning of the game when you are trying to get your bearings. There is an option to allow the computer to control Neku’s partner but I found this unreliable and thought that the computer just wasn’t fast enough.

In writing it may seem somewhat simple but I assure you that TWEWY’s battle system is very involved and has an extraordinary amount of depth to it. Probably the biggest contributor is the pin system. By defeating enemies and progressing through the game you will come across a large amount of different pins that, when equipped, grant Neku extra abilities such as the ability to generate fire to burn your foes or the ability to fire energy bullets out of Neku’s hands.

Because of the pin system there’s a lot of customization. You will need to pick the right pins for the right situation as some enemies may be weak to some pins or resist others. It’s an ingenious system and the developers have handled it extremely well. The battle system is just so fun that you may find yourself seeking out enemies to fight just for the fun of it, which is almost unheard of in an RPG.

As for replay value, the game has a decent amount of it. The main quest will take you about 15 hours but there are several sidequests including optional bosses, along with different difficulty modes, so you have a lot to keep you busy if you happen to be a completionist.

TWEWY is also one of the DS’ prettiest 2D games. Sprites are detailed and the special effects are flashy and look great; the game just has its own style. When interacting with characters, the scenes will play out like a comic with stylized text bubbles and characters going in and out of focus. It really is a great looking game with a refreshing style.

Probably my favorite part next to the battle system is TWEWY’s excellent score. The score is mainly comprised of J-Pop but don’t let that deter you if you’re not a J-Pop fan. I am not a big fan of the genre, but the music in TWEWY is catchy and suits the style of the game perfectly. (Granted there are a few tracks that won’t appeal to those who don’t like J-Pop…) On the other hand, if you do like J-Pop you’re pretty much guaranteed to like every single song TWEWY has to offer.

The World Ends With You is one of the best games to hit the DS. I know there are some folks calling it THE best, but it’s not quite that great. It’s an incredibly unique title that just oozes style, and it’s extremely fun to boot. Japanese RPG fans should definitely pick this one up as soon as possible, and any DS owners should at least give it a try.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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